Video: Easy backup and archiving with CrashPlan

Video: Easy backup and archiving with CrashPlan

In this presentation, Jigsaw24’s backup specialists Tom and Phill show us step by step a fast, efficient and worry-free way to back up and archive with CrashPlan by Code42.

Want to know more about backup and archiving? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 288, email solutions@Jigsaw24.com or visit www.Jigsaw24.com/solutions.

How to upgrade your Mac to macOS Sierra

How to upgrade your Mac to macOS Sierra

Making sure your Mac end users are all on the same operating system is important. Not only does it mean everyone has access to the same great new macOS features, but some software only runs on certain versions of the OS, so what you don’t want is different people with different software versions, making files incompatable.

And while brand new Mac computers will ship with the latest version of macOS pre-installed, if you’re using older machines, and want the latest iteration of Apple’s operating system, you’ll need to upgrade. So here’s a quick step-by-step guide to upgrading individual Macs to macOS Sierra, if they’re not already managed in a device management solution.

macOS Sierra requirements

First thing’s first, you’ll need to know whether your Mac can actually support the latest version of macOS (but don’t worry, we can tell you this!), as not all older hardware and operating systems do. Apple advise you’ll also need at least 2GB of RAM and 8.8GB of free storage space to install macOS Sierra, although we would recommend much higher than 2GB RAM – at least 4GB but ideally 8GB.

To find out what model your Mac is, plus your memory, storage, and version of OS X, choose About This Mac from the Apple menu (). Supported Mac models are iMac (Late 2009 or newer), MacBook (Late 2009 or newer), MacBook Pro (Mid 2010 or newer), MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer), Mac mini (Mid 2010 or newer) and Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or newer).

Installing macOS Sierra

Already using OS X El Capitan v10.11.5 or later? macOS Sierra will automatically download for you in the background. When it’s finished downloading, you’ll get a notification telling you Sierra is ready to be installed. You can either click Install to get started straight away, or put it off till later by dismissing the notification, if more convenient.

If you’re using an operating system older than OS X El Capitan v10.11.5, here’s what you need to do:

1. Back up your Mac. Whether it’s to Time Machine, a NAS, or enterprise cloud storage, backing up your machine before you install any upgrades is always good practice.

2. Open the Mac App Store app on your Mac from the Applications folder, Launchpad, Spotlight or the Apple menu ().

3. If macOS Sierra doesn’t show automatically, search the App Store for macOS Sierra, or go directly to the macOS Sierra page.

4. Click the Download button on the macOS Sierra page. A file named Install macOS Sierra downloads to your Applications folder.

5. After it’s finished downloading, Install macOS Sierra opens automatically. Click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions.

Upgrading managed devices

If you’re already using a device management solution, you’re already applying settings, permissions and packages to new devices as soon as they’re turned on. That means the minute a new user logs in, their device starts loading the software you want them to have, and you have clear visibility over any changes. You’re then able to roll out operating system updates to all your end users’ devices at once at a strategic time (after you’ve tested them for compatibility with your core business software, of course) without even touching them.

Want to know more about Apple and managed devices? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.


The results from our 2017 IT in Creative Business Survey

The results from our 2017 IT in Creative Business Survey

Growing pains are commonplace for budding creative agencies, and they’re not helped by IT that lags behind the requirements of the business. So we teamed up with Kingston Smith, a leading business advisory firm, to find out a little bit more about the challenges facing creative companies in 2017. Here are a few of the key findings from our 2017 IT in Creative Business survey, along with solutions and services we’ve developed to help businesses overcome their IT challenges.

Taking care of your IT

Of the businesses we surveyed, 61.5% said they lacked a dedicated IT department, while a further 15.4% said that just one IT manager carried the load for their company. For those without an IT manager, 25% told us that their Finance Director handles all the tech stuff, and an additional 25% said their IT was overseen by the owner, managing director or studio head.

If your IT is managed by an individual, you could do with someone dedicated to take care of your tech, so you can focus on keeping your company at the cutting edge of creativity and productivity, and suffer minimal downtime. We offer a full portfolio of IT services, from reactive support like Apple repairs right through to complete IT outsourcing, depending on your requirements and circumstances.

Challenges to productivity

We asked businesses what they saw as the biggest challenges to their productivity. The highest ranked answer was ‘Ensuring consistent network connectivity and bandwidth’, or making sure they stay online all the time. ‘Security’ was the second most important consideration for respondents, with ‘Backing up and managing digital assets’ following closely, and ‘Sourcing a reliable IT partner’, ‘Supply and employment of appropriate IT skills’, ‘Disaster recovery/business continuity’ and ‘Working within the IT budget’ all figuring highly too.

Many of the respondents identified that an outsourced IT department was helping them deal with these challenges. If similar considerations are facing your business, we can help. Our services help you survive and thrive in a changing IT landscape, with solutions for storage and backup, networking and infrastructure, managing devices and keeping productive in the cloud.

Backing up files

Backup and archive are essential for business continuity in the event of hardware failure – after all, you can’t save what you haven’t saved. Making sure backups are happening frequently enough to save key assets but fast enough not to impact application availability becomes more of a problem as you work with larger files and more complex projects.

We asked how businesses were currently backing up their files, and it seems more and more companies are now using cloud-based systems, with 50% saying they use cloud-based backups, followed by offsite backup (41.7%), tape drives (33.3%), server backups (29.2%) and ‘other’ (4.2%).

If you’re looking to protect your assets against the unknown, you’ll be interested in our Backup24 solution. Developed for creatives who need secure, offsite protection for their intellectual property and digital media assets, with Backup24, you can leave everything with us – we’ll tell you if anything goes wrong, so you can carry on working without the management headache!

Managing your IT budget

Of course, underpinning your IT choices is always budget. It was interesting to hear from those surveyed exactly what their IT budget went towards, with storage and software taking the lion’s share for most businesses (excluding staff spend). Storage and servers was the biggest contributor to IT budgets with 72.7%, tied at the top spot with software licences (also 72.7%). Hardware was next with 68.2%, WiFi and broadband took 40.9% and tech support just 27.3%.

Refreshing your IT

With technology constantly evolving, it’s important to make sure your IT is up to date and you’re at the front of the productivity pack by refreshing your IT every now and then. Other benefits of regularly refreshing your IT include better software compatibility, and having the most up to date software and hardware with improved features (new devices are generally more energy-efficient too).

We asked businesses how often they aim to refresh their IT, and interestingly most companies aim to refresh every three years (33.3%), while 28.6% aimed for a two year cycle, and 9.5% aimed to refresh annually. However, it was then revealed that most actually refreshed their IT estate four or more years ago (38.1%).

Challenges in the future

We ended the survey by asking respondents to identify which key challenges they thought they would be faced with over the next few years. The main things people pointed to were security, infrastructure and storage, as well as generally keeping up to date with new technology. As one respondent pointed out “The hacker challenge gets greater the more we rely on our systems and the number of hackers with more than malice driving them, is growing exponentially.”

Other points include: “software development and the death of flash in online advertising”; “reliable connectivity to the outside world’; “Sourcing a new database/CRM package that is right for us”; “Expansion overseas, maintaining consistent user experience.”

Of the most important emerging technology trends of the next few years, many of those we surveyed mentioned moving to the cloud. This is clearly a very exciting trend across all industries, one that many creative companies are looking to be involved (more) with. Other big talking points included sharing and realtime collaboration, as well as anywhere file access. As the businesses we surveyed were creative companies, one big concern was the increasing amount of data, particularly for designers.

Want to know more about creative IT and how to keep up with IT trends and challenges? Get in touch with the team to talk through our IT services and solutions for creative businesses. Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email solutions@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Why you need backup for your devices AND your server

Why you need backup for your devices AND your server

We’re always bigging up backup for business, but nowadays, just having a device-based backup strategy won’t cut it. If your server suddenly went down, would your teams still be able to carry on working? 

Backing up your server gives you disaster recovery, or the ability to recover data if disaster strikes, be that a system crash, hard drive failure, or if any files get corrupted or accidentally deleted. Having resilient infrastructure with data stored in multiple places also gives you business continuity, meaning you can keep up and running.

Client/device-based backup lets end users restore their machine back to its pre-disaster state and recover any files you need, so you can get your laptop back quickly and hassle-free. If you’re already using Macs, you’ll be familiar (or if not, you should be) with Apple’s Time Machine tool, which automatically backs up files to an external hard drive so you can restore them later or revert to a previous version of your desktop. But for a more enterprise-friendly solution, we suggest Code 42’s CrashPlan. CrashPlan works in the background on your computers to silently and continuously back up all distributed end-user data so you have complete visibility and control on a single, secure platform.

All your end users should be working from the server, and your server data should be backed up on a regular basis. Even mobile workers should ensure they’re saving back to the server rather than locally to their devices, and if they can’t access the server temporarily, should sync back to it once they do have access.

If you’re looking at improving your backup, get in touch with our expert storage team to talk backup strategy and business continuity, based on your current business requirements. We can discuss:

– The size of your current data set.

– How your data is stored.

– What type of files you’re dealing with – large HD video files or lots of smaller files.

– Data turnover rates so we can determine the bandwidth needed to backup your data effectively.

– Data growth rate.

– Retention period – how long you require historic snapshots of the data to be kept for.

– Bandwidth – the speed of your internet connection

– Security – whether encryption is required.

Want to know more about backup? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email solutions@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

 

Vidcheck release Telestream Vidchecker 7.1 software

Vidcheck release Telestream Vidchecker 7.1 software

Vidcheck have just released version 7.1 of their awesome video quality control application Vidchecker and Vidchecker-Post. Vidchecker 7.1 packs in some exciting new features to help content creators and deliverers save the cost of rejecting and reworking footage. And for Telestream Vantage users, the integration between Vantage and Vidchecker offers even more complete workflow options.

This new version adds the following new features:

Support for HDR colour space ITU Rec. 2020. Vidchecker and Vidchecker-Post will now detect when content is in the ITU Rec. 2020 color space and adjust tests accordingly. This would particularly pique the interest of anyone creating or working with content for HDR consumption.

Added AMWA AS-10 templates. Added templates based around the Canal + version of AMWA’s AS10 specification (French broadcasters, take note).

Updated suite of ARD/ZDF templates for v1.1 of IRT MXF profiles. ARD/ZDF testing is key for anyone concerned with delivering content in the German market.

Vantage integration. Telestream’s media processing platform, Vantage, will notify you if your file is corrected by Vidchecker.

Want to know more about Vidcheck’s solutions for post, broadcast, distribution and archive? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Upgrade to CINEMA 4D R18 and save up to 25%

Upgrade to CINEMA 4D R18 and save up to 25%

If you’ve been putting off upgrading your Maxon CINEMA 4D R15 to the latest version, CINEMA 4D R18, we’ve got a couple of offers on that should help ease the transition. Until 31st March, you can upgrade and save up to 25% on Maxon’s 3D software.

Any CINEMA 4D R15 owners taking out a Maxon Service Agreement (MSA) is eligible for a massive 25% off the normal upgrade price when going for CINEMA 4D R18. But even if you don’t opt for an MSA, you can still get 15% off.

The MSA is an annual licensing agreement for CINEMA 4D users that makes the whole purchasing process much easier, especially for companies working with fixed budgets – no more surprises when planning next year’s expenses. All upgrades are automatically sent to MSA customers immediately upon release. In addition to the most up-to-date software version, MSA participants also receive an annual subscription to Maxon’s Cineversity portal for tutorials, templates and plug-ins.

What’s new in CINEMA 4D R18

Not already been convinced to upgrade to CINEMA 4D R18 from R15? Here are just a handful of reasons which may sway you:

Voronoi fracture object – a native feature in the MoGraph toolset in Cinema 4D that works seamlessly with Dynamics. Allows users to tear down walls and create artistic procedural geometry using spline or polygon objects to define the fractured shape.

Interactive knife tools – enable users to draw lines across a model and tweak the cut with an interactive preview, then lock in new edges or split based on the cut; knife tools are available as separate commands for easy access to the desired mode via shortcut or Commander.

Object motion tracking – expanded tools for integrating your Cinema 4D creations into real-world footage, by replacing objects with your 3D designs.

Shaders and surface effects – advanced rendering tools for creating iridescent surfaces such as bubbles and oil slicks, for capturing shadows for more efficient compositing, parallax mapping for enhanced bump effects, and creating masks for worn edges using inverse ambient occlusion.

Substance engine integration – download compiled Allegorithmic Substances and utilise them to surface your Cinema 4D objects. This fully-integrated implementation offers outstanding workflow and flexibility, plus options to cache Substances on disk for better performance.

Want to know more about Maxon CINEMA 4D? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

From SAN to NAS: Your at a glance guide to storage

From SAN to NAS: Your at a glance guide to storage

Don’t know your SAN from your NAS? This quick guide will run you through the ten most common types of storage, from internal and external hard drives, to storage area network and network-attached storage, by way of solid state drives (SSDs), magnetic tape storage and RAID… 

Internal hard drives

Certainly the most common form of data storage is an internal hard drive – if you’re purchasing a ready-made notebook or workstation, it’ll generally already come included. They allow you to store files in a single computer, and come in the form of a traditional spinning disk hard drive, or more efficient solid state drive (SSD).

Pros: The convenience of internal hard drives is a major plus point, as they usually come bundled in with your new computer. They’re great for use with a single computer, but given proper support, can also be shared among multiple machines.

Cons: Limited capacity is a drawback, as is the fact that without special support, you’re confined to a single computer or server.

 

External hard drives

As well as internal hard drives, if you’re saving large files, you’re probably familiar with external hard drives. These are used throughout creative and business environments for local backup and archiving of data, and are usually small enough to sit happily on your desk.

Pros: The main upside of external hard drives is that they can be moved around multiple computers and users in your studio or office.

Cons: Just as with internal hard drives, external hard drives can be hamstrung by limited capacity. It can also be incredibly awkward to physically transfer data among multiple computers using external hard drives.

 

Solid state drives (SSDs)

As mentioned above, solid state storage can come in the form of an internal hard drive that ships with your Mac or other workstation, or as external hard drives. The external, portable variety are used for everyday simple file swapping and local data transfer, and larger capacity drives are often used for more heavy duty work like video processing, relational databases and high-speed data acquisition, either as an internal or external drive.

Pros: The main advantage of solid state storage is that, unlike your traditional spinning disk hard drive, they have no moving parts, which generally means there are fewer components which could potentially fail. They also have high read/write speeds, and the portable, external variety have a small form factor which makes them incredibly portable or chuck-in-your-laptop-bag-able.

Cons: On the downside, solid state storage has limited storage capacity, with many mobile drives topping out at around 1 or 2TB, and cost more than hard drives.

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Storage area network (SAN)

If you’re working with large databases, bandwidth-hungry and mission-critical applications, the above options are not the drives you are looking for. Storage area network (SAN) is a cover-all term for a network that gives multiple users block level access (as opposed to file level) to multiple storage devices and arrays, accessible to servers so that the devices appear to the operating system as locally attached devices. SANs are widely used by enterprises working with large amounts of data and apps.

Pros: The main reason you’d want to go for SAN is for consolidated block storage. SAN is also exceptionally reliable, widely available, very tolerant of faults, and super scalable, so you can expand on your SAN as your business grows.

Cons: One minus point with SAN is its high cost, which can be prohibitive to smaller businesses. Traditionally you’d also require a dedicated network, separate from the network supporting desktops. Managing SAN can be quite complex too, which could cause a few headaches.

 

Fibre Channel

Fibre Channel is a type of SAN used to connect shared storage to servers. Its high speed means it can often be found in datacentres and offsite storage dealing with large databases, bandwidth-intensive and mission-critical applications.

Pros: Fibre Channel lets you transmit data between devices at super-fast gigabit speeds (often at 1, 2, 4, 8 and 16 gigabit per second rates).

Cons: As it is a SAN though, it can be prohibitively expensive, and complex to manage.

 

iSCSI storage

Another type of SAN, iSCSI (or Internet Small Computer Systems Interface, if you’re not in a hurry), is a standard that provides block-level access to storage devices over an Ethernet network. As with Fibre Channel, it’s used for linking data storage facilities, SANs, for offsite storage and mission-critical applications.

Pros: iSCSI lets you transmit data between devices using existing network infrastructure, rather than dedicated cabling, so you can run it over long distances.

Cons: Although, it doesn’t compare as favourably with Fibre Channel when it comes to large database transfers, and is also equally complex to manage.

 

Network-attached storage (NAS)

Used for data storage and file stores, a NAS is effectively a file server often built as a computer appliance (a purpose-built specialised computer), and tends to be managed remotely, usually by a web-based GUI. The device provides access to storage at file level, rather than at a block level like SAN, using a variety of protocols, such as NFS, SMB/CIFS, and AFP. It provides local area network (LAN) nodes with file-based shared storage through your standard Ethernet connection, giving multiple clients on the network access to the same files.

Pros: NAS is great as it gives fast file access it multiple clients, it’s easy to share data, has high storage capacity, is easy to mirror drives, and lets you consolidate all your resources in one place. Redundancy, backing up copies of files, also means you’re protected against data loss in the event of a disk failure.

Cons: It is, however, less convenient than a storage area network (SAN) for moving large blocks of data.

 

D2D2T storage

Disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) is a backup and archiving system in which, as you may have guessed, data is first copied to backup storage on a disk storage system, then periodically copied again to a tape storage system. It’s often used for incremental backups of data, storage virtualisation, offsite storage and data archiving.

Pros: Upsides are redundancy (which safeguards against data loss), a high read/write speed for quick data transfer, and high capacity (use multiple tapes to your heart’s content).

Cons: The only problem with D2D2T storage is that it’s complex to manage.

Magnetic tape

A tape drive is a data storage device that reads and writes data on a magnetic tape. You’ll generally find these used for data archiving and offline storage, and are much favoured by the budget-conscious business.

Pros: The main thing tape storage has going for it is its low cost per megabyte. They’re also a fairly portable form of data storage, plus you get unlimited capacity, as you can always add more tapes.

Cons: However, tapes make it inconvenient to quickly recover individual files or groups of files, and you may have to buy quite expensive housing if you have lots of tape.

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RAID storage

A redundant array of independent disks (thankfully known more widely by the acronym RAID) is simply a method of combining multiple physical disks into a single unit for performance and/or reliability, and is used in pretty much every SAN, NAS and DAS array. RAID lets you easily swap files, and gives ‘data redundancy’, which essentially means you don’t lose data if a single disk fails, and lets you correct errors to protect against data loss.

Pros: RAID is high speed, high capacity, high data availability storage that’s reliable, secure and gives you fault tolerance in the face of disk failure (ie peace of mind).

Cons: RAID users may unfortunately develop a false sense of security though, with recovery from failure difficult in some systems. And if you’re looking at a high-end optimum system, be prepared for a high price tag.

 

Want to know more about storage solutions? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com. or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

VR headset firms come together to form virtual reality alliance

VR headset firms come together to form virtual reality alliance

Virtual reality’s march to victory continues, as Google, Facebook, HTC Vive, Samsung, Sony and Acer Starbreeze come together to form the Global Virtual Reality Association (GVRA).

The worldwide cabal of headset manufacturers has been set up with the aim of promoting the growth of the global VR industry by developing and sharing best practice. It will also commission international research, create educational materials and host and participate in discussions about VR.

Taking his headset off for two minutes, general counsel for Oculus at Facebook Jordan McCollum said: “We’re still very much in the early stages of VR, so it’s critical that industry leaders work together to create and share ideas on how we can safely build this industry.

“I’m looking forward to working with other hardware makers to proactively address the challenges we need solve to make VR a success over the long term.”

HTC Vive senior vice president Rikard Steiber added: “It is important that we as an industry are working together to establish best practices and common resources for our industry that will drive toward the $120 billion projection by 2020.

“The GVRA represents industry leaders and hardware manufacturers across the globe who are creating the best VR experiences available.”

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Want to know more about virtual reality-ready solutions? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

A spotter’s guide to Adobe Creative Cloud desktop apps

A spotter’s guide to Adobe Creative Cloud desktop apps

Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps are the gold standard in professional software for creatives of all stripes. But whether you’re a graphic designer who uses Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator day-in, day-out, or a videographer who knows Premiere Pro and After Effects like the back of your hand, there’s a wealth of apps you have access to under a Creative Cloud All Apps subscription that, while you may not be that familiar with, could be a very welcome addition to your creative workflow.

So here we’ve put together a quick spotter’s guide to all Adobe’s fantastic desktop apps, and where to find them. How many have you tried?

Design tools

Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop CC is your common or garden digital imaging app, the number one choice the world over for photographers and designers. It lets you enhance, retouch, and manipulate photographs and images in any way you can imagine, with clever content aware technology and powerful design tools like editable shapes and vector layers. (Also available as a Single App.)

Lightroom. Often spotted in the same habitat as Photoshop, Lightroom lets you organise, edit and share your all photos from anywhere, whether that’s on your computer, on the web, or on your iPad, iPhone or Android devices.

Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator CC is the industry-standard vector graphics software. Create compelling vector art and illustrations using advanced, precise drawing and typography tools, and work quickly and intuitively on everything from brand identities and marketing materials to graphics for the web, video, and film. (Also available as a Single App.)

InDesign. InDesign CC is professional page layout software for print and digital publishing. Use it to design, preflight, and publish a broad range of content in print, online, and for tablet apps. You can create simple or complex layouts quickly and efficiently with precise control over typography, built-in creative tools, and an intuitive design environment. (Also available as a Single App.)

Experience Design (beta). Still a fledgling at the moment, the Experience Design app is designed to improve teamwork among workgroups who are prototyping apps and mobile content, and allows you to build and share prototypes, then collaborate and feed back on them in realtime.

InCopy. Adobe InCopy CC makes it easy to collaborate in demanding editorial workflows. With InCopy CC, writers, editors, and designers can work simultaneously on a single document without overwriting each other’s contributions. (Also available as a Single App.)

Video tools

Premiere Pro. Adobe Premiere Pro CC is a powerful, customisable, nonlinear video editor that lets you import and freely combine virtually any type of media, from video shot on a phone to raw 5K and higher resolution footage, and then edit in its native format without wasting time transcoding. (Also available as a Single App.)

After Effects. The industry-leading animation and creative compositing software used by a wide variety of motion graphics and visual effects artists, After Effects CC gives you powerful timesaving features like a Live 3D Pipeline with Maxon Cinema4D software and Mask Tracker, which lets you apply a mask and effect that travels frame by frame throughout your composite. (Also available as a Single App.)

Audition. Adobe Audition CC is a cross-platform audio editor that speeds up production for video, radio, music, games, and more, thanks to uncompromising sound quality and intuitive workflows. (Also available as a Single App.)

Media Encoder. Ingest, transcode, create proxies, and output any format – this powerful media management tool allows users to work with media in a unified way across applications, tightly integrating with Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC and other apps for a seamless media processing workflow.

SpeedGrade. SpeedGrade is a colour grading application that delivers layer-based colour correction and look design tools to ensure that digital video projects are visually consistent and aesthetically compelling.

Prelude. Rapidly tag and transcode video footage and quickly create a rough cut with Prelude – a video logging and ingest tool designed for intuitive, efficient media organisation and metadata entry.

Story Plus. This service combines collaborative screenwriting, reporting, and scheduling tools with script metadata logging to help you edit video in Premiere Pro. (Also available as a Single App.)

Character Animator (beta). Create 2D characters in Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC and bring them to life in Character Animator. Act out movements and record your voice using your webcam and microphone, with realtime facial expression and motion tracking.

Fuse (preview). The new 3D modelling app lets you quickly create unique human characters for your Adobe Photoshop CC images, designs, prototypes and more.

Web tools

Dreamweaver. Build sites and apps with Adobe Dreamweaver CC – the all-in-one, industry-leading web design tool. Dreamweaver CC provides a robust and integrated solution to design, develop, and publish projects for any screen size. (Also available as a Single App.)

Muse. Adobe Muse CC lets you design and publish HTML websites for desktop and mobile devices without writing code. Design freely using familiar tools and shortcuts, easily add engaging effects and interactivity, and even integrate third party functionality like blogs and shopping carts. (Also available as a Single App.)

Animate. Design interactive animations with cutting-edge drawing tools and publish them to multiple platforms – including Flash/Adobe AIR, HTML5 canvas, WebGL, or even custom platforms – and reach viewers on broadcast TV or virtually any desktop or mobile device. (Also available as a Single App.)

Flash Builder. A development environment for building games and applications using the ActionScript language and the open source Flex framework. Flash Builder Premium includes professional testing tools such as profilers, network monitoring, and unit testing support.

Scout. Adobe Scout is a lightweight but comprehensive SWF profiling tool designed for Adobe Flash game developers. Any SWF file, regardless of whether it runs on mobile devices or in browsers, can be quickly profiled with no change to the code — and Adobe Scout quickly and efficiently detects problems that could affect performance.

PhoneGap Build. Take the pain out of developing mobile apps by simply uploading your HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript assets to the Adobe PhoneGap Build cloud service, and Adobe will do all the work of compiling for you while you put your feet up.

Spark. Are you a social butterfly? Create social graphics, web stories and animated videos with real punch, using Spark’s free graphic design app.

Workflow tools

Acrobat Pro DC. Keep a sharp eye out for the all-new Adobe Acrobat DC with Adobe Document Cloud, designed to change the way you work with important business documents. Do away with ink signatures and overnight envelopes, protect your important documents, work anywhere and edit anything.

Bridge. Bridge CC gives you centralised access to all the files and assets you need for your creative projects. Organise personal and team assets, batch edit with ease, add watermarks, set centralised colour preferences, and even upload your photos to Adobe Stock.

Creative Cloud. Where it all begins. The Creative Cloud for desktop app is where you can quickly launch and update your desktop apps, manage and share your assets, download fonts and assets, and showcase and discover creative work on Behance, all while staying conveniently out of sight.

To find out more about Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, get in touch with our team on 03332 409 251 or email Adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or like us on Facebook

Buyers’ Guide: Mac for business

Buyers’ Guide: Mac for business

Looking to refresh your business’s computer deployment? These days, looking to Apple is probably your best option. As well as their power, flexibility and ease of use, they’re also incredibly durable and reliable, so you can count on a better TCO and ROI than with PC counterparts.

Your options are much simpler too – you have a choice of MacBook Air, MacBook Pro (with or without Touch Bar) and the 12″ MacBook, as well as desktop computers in the form of Mac Pro, iMac and Mac mini, which can come with differing internal features depending on your needs. When shopping for PC ‘ultrabooks’ and desktops, on the other hand, there simply isn’t one single contender to match Mac, but a whole universe of laptops and desktops sporting differing processors and screen sizes (not to mention vastly varying build quality), which can get rather confusing.

To make things even easier, we’ve broken down the range below, giving recommendations based on the team’s actual experience using Mac within the business, as well as links to buy. If you are wanting to deploy a raft of new notebooks and desktops, you’ll probably want to talk to us first, as experts in all things Apple, including integration, rollout, management and post-sales support. But let’s take a look at the actual products available first…

MacBook Air

Ideal for: Mobile workers who need long battery life

MacBook Air on Jigsaw24

MacBook Air has been around since 2008, and in that time, Apple have really worked on making its internals match its external form factor. One of the thinnest (just 1.7cm at its thickest point) and lightest (as little as 1.08kg) notebooks around, it is undoubtably good looking, but that stunning design also means it’s incredibly portable. That makes it a great choice for anyone who needs to run applications on the move when a tablet just won’t cut it – so salespeople, client-facing consultants and other staff in the field, for example.

Equally, if we are called in to a meeting, we can just pick up our MacBook Air and head down, hooking up to the room’s display (either wirelessly over AirPlay and Apple TV, or through a wired Mini DisplayPort connection) to share with the group. The 11″ model in particular, can easily be stowed away in your bag and carried around all day without putting your shoulder out.

Another feature that’s bound to be a boon for business is the battery life. Apple say the 11″ model will go nine hours without a recharge, while the 13″ model, which includes larger batteries, tops out at 12 hours. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on what apps you’re running, display settings and other factors, but that’s more than enough to get you through a full business day before you have to plug in again. The fact that they rely solely on solid state flash storage also means MacBook Air is speedy too – 17x faster than a traditional 5400-rpm notebook hard drive, in fact.

The latest versions feature:

11″ MacBook Air

– 11.6″ high-res glossy display.

– Up to 512GB flash storage.

– Up to 8GB RAM.

– Fifth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

– Intel HD Graphics 6000 processor.

– From £549 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

13″ MacBook Air

– 13.3″ high-res glossy display.

– Up to 512GB flash storage.

– Up to 8GB RAM.

– Fifth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

– Intel HD Graphics 6000 processor.

– From £702 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

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MacBook Pro

Ideal for: Those needing more power from a portable computer

MacBook Pro on Jigsaw24

MacBook Pro is Apple’s powerhouse portable (our designers use it on shoots, and it happily handles rendering and exporting compositions in processor-intensive apps like Adobe Creative Cloud’s Photoshop and InDesign, while they get on with the rest of their workload).

The latest generation of MacBook Pro comes in three flavours: MacBook Pro 13″, MacBook Pro 13″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID, and MacBook Pro 15″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID.

The no-frills 13″ model was described by Apple CEO Tim Cook as “a MacBook Pro for MacBook Air users” and is the lightest and slimmest of the bunch. It’s 12% thinner than the current MacBook Air (at the wide end of the taper, admittedly, but still), and is 13% smaller by volume. Despite this highly portable form factor, the MacBook Pro 13″ still boasts a Retina Display, a 2.4GHz dual core Intel Core i7 processor, 512GB of flash storage and 16GB RAM, to make it the clear winner if you need a combination of power and portability.

The other two MacBook Pro models features Apple’s Touch ID biometric sensor, allowing users to log in, switch accounts and even make purchases simply by scanning a fingerprint. It also means that these models will support biometric security measures and two-factor authentication, so if security is your top priority, these are the laptops for you.

These models are the first to feature Apple’s unique Touch Bar, a Retina-quality display that sits where the function keys used to and offers context-aware shortcuts to common tasks. For example, in Mail, you’ll see keys for sending and replying to mail, while in a video editing app you’ll see your timeline in miniature – great for helping your creatives work more quickly and intuitively.

All three models use the latest USB-C standard which, depending on which adaptor you’re using, can act as a power cable, DisplayPort connection, Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI port or VGA port, meaning you can use the MacBook Pro as the basis of a much larger workstation with desktop storage and multiple monitors.

13″ MacBook Pro

– 13.3″ widescreen Retina display.

– Up to 512GB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB RAM.

– Dual-core Intel Core i7 processors.

– Intel Iris 540 graphics.

– From £1347 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

13″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID

– 13.3″ ultra-thin Retina display.

– Up to 1TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB RAM.

– Dual core Intel Core i7 processors.

– Intel Iris 550 graphics.

– From £1449 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

15″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID

– 15.4″ ultra-thin Retina display.

– Up to 2TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB RAM.

– Quad-core Intel Core i7 processors.

– AMD Radeon Pro 460 graphics processor.

– From £1947 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

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MacBook

Ideal for: Mobile workers who need maximum energy efficiency

MacBook on Jigsaw24

The 12″ MacBook joined the Mac notebook lineup in 2015. It was the first non-pro Mac notebook to feature a Retina display and also the first to come in a range of colours. While it’s not as powerful as the MacBook Pro and Air, it’s still speedy, complete with the new Intel Core M processor, up to 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of flash storage.

Apple say it’s also their most energy efficient computer, using just five watts of power, and doing away with the fan for silent running. Like the MacBook Pro range, it takes advantage of the USB-C standard to combine power, video and ultrafast data transfer into a single cable, so you will want to invest in USB-C adaptors if your staff opt for this model.

12″ MacBook

– 12″ Retina display.

– Up to 512GB flash storage.

– 8GB RAM.

– Core m processor.

– Intel HD Graphics 5300.

– Gold, silver or space grey colour schemes.

– From £1035 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

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Mac Pro

Ideal for: Video and heavy creative work

Mac Pro on Jigsaw24

Moving on to desktop workstations, we have the Mac Pro – Apple’s workhorse. While you may not need 64GB RAM or 12 cores of processing power for everyday business tasks and systems, if you have an in-house creative team, they’ll thank you for investing in Mac Pro, the industry standard for design work, and video and audio editing.

This latest generation of Mac Pro, released in 2013, introduced a radical new design. Ditching the classic tower form factor in favour of a sleek cylindrical casing, Mac Pro manages to pack all its internals into a 25cm high, 5kg casing that will happily sit on a desk, and it comes with enough ports that you’re able to connect all the displays, storage and peripherals you require. And, if there’s a specific configuration you need, you can add your own RAM, processors and storage with our online Mac Pro Configurator.

Mac Pro

– Up to 2.7GHz 12-core processor.

– Up to 1TB PCIe-based flash storage.

– Up to 64GB (4x16GB) memory.

– Up to Dual AMD FirePro D700 with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM.

– Support for three 4K displays,

– Six Thunderbolt ports.

– From £1799 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

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iMac

Ideal for: Creative teams or those needing an all-in-one workstation

iMac on Jigsaw24

iMac has long been the choice of graphic designers and imaging specialists for its power and large display, but it’s perfect for the office too. An all-in-one workstation, all the internals and connectivity are neatly contained within its incredibly slim form factor, so there’s no desk clutter, and it comes with an Apple keyboard and Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad too. In 2014, Apple also launched a 27″ iMac with Retina 5K display, which is great for seeing content with an increased level of colour and detail, as well as being ideal if you want more screen real estate so you have a larger workspace to fit your toolbars, and work on the content itself.

21″ iMac

– 21″ widescreen display.

– Up to 1TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Core i7 3.1GHz processor.

– From £869 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

21.5″ iMac with 4K Retina display

– 21.5″ widescreen display.

– Up to 2TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Core i7 3.3GHz processor.

– From £1199 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

27″ 5K iMac with Retina display

– 27″ 5K Retina display.

– Up to 3TB Fusion storage.

– Up to 8GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Quad Core i7 4.0GHz processor.

– From £1449 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

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Mac mini

Ideal for: General office work

Mac mini on Jigsaw24

The smallest of Apple’s desktop options, Mac mini is ideal for the desk, but that doesn’t mean it’s lightweight. With up to 16GB RAM and 3GHz processing power, it’ll breeze through spreadsheets, as well as more processor-intesive tasks, while using up a tiny amount of power. All you need is to hook it up to a display, and add a keyboard and mouse.

Mac mini

– Up to 2TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Dual Core i7 3GHz processor.

– From £395 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

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Want to know more about MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or just pop your details in the form below and we’ll be in touch. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

Or fill in the form below to find out about our b7 proof of concept trial for executives that lets you see the benefits of Mac – such as improved productivity and lower total cost of ownership – before you invest.